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We explored the impact of being hospitalized due to worsening heart failure (WHF) or a myocardial infarction (MI) on subsequent mortality in a large contemporary data set of patients with stable chronic systolic heart failure (HF).A total of 6558 patients with stable systolic HF, 6505 with analysable data, with an EF of ≤35%, who were included in the Systolic Heart failure treatment with the If inhibitor ivabradine Trial (SHIFT), were followed for a median of 22.9 months with respect to hospitalizations and vital status. Among the 1288 patients who had at least one hospitalization due to WHF or MI, 455 (35.3%) died during follow-up compared with 600 (11.5%) among patients not hospitalized for these reasons. The risk for death was highest in the early phase after hospitalization. The risk declined rapidly during the first month but remained 3.5-fold (95% confidence interval 2.3–5.1) increased at 18 months after a first WHF hospitalization and 8.8-fold (95% confidence interval 3.6–21.6) increased at 18 months after a first MI hospitalization.The present study confirms previous findings that in patients with stable chronic systolic HF, a hospitalization for WHF or MI is associated with substantially increased risk for subsequent death even with contemporary extensive background pharmacological therapy. The risk is most pronounced in the early phase of hospitalization but remains elevated even after 18 months. Preventing HF hospitalization appears as an important therapeutic objective in such patients, and a hospitalization for WHF or MI should lead to a careful therapeutic reassessment.